Last Saturday saw the first Coder Dojo Divas event in the Limerick Coder Dojo. This event was aimed specifically at girls between 12 and 17 to encourage more girls to get involved. We’ve noticed in Limerick over the past while that, although we have a healthy balance between girls and boys in the younger age group, we have very few older girls involved. There has been much talk about encouraging girls to get involved in technology, both inside and outside the CoderDojo community. Rebecca Garcia from the New York Coder Dojo, convened the first Google+ hangout on this topic on the 4th March, the transcript of which can be found here.
To the best of my knowledge, the Limerick Divas event is only the 3rd such type of event in the CoderDojo community. The New York and Waterford Coder Dojos have already run sessions targeting teenage girls. It’s great to see female Coder Dojo mentors like Rebecca Garcia, Jennifer Keane and Karen O’Connell taking the lead on such initiatives. Karen did a fantastic job of getting the ball rolling in the Limerick Dojo. Her efforts over the past few weeks saw more than 15 girls turn up for the first Divas event. A few of the girls had been to the Dojo previously but there were many new faces which was great to see. I loved how Karen gave a context to girls in technology by referring to the programmers of the world’s first all electronic computer who were female. For more information on these female programmers check out eniacprogrammers.org.
Karen then led us in a great session based on App Inventor. After a bit of time spent getting the set up sorted the girls worked on a crystal ball app. It was great to see them working alone and together as they worked out technical issues and got their first app working both on an emulator and an Android device. As groups they also signed up for the Technovation challenge.